One weekly amusement — or bemusement — with the Bears offense of Marc Trestman was how the weekly commitment to running the football was typically gone by halftime, sometimes by the end of the first three-and-out series, regardless of score.
So it was curious that the Bears of John Fox, which ran the football a respectable 46 percent of their offensive snaps, last Sunday in Houston called nine running plays to 16 pass plays in the first half. The result was a 14-10 halftime lead with the help of a 54-yard completion to Alshon Jeffery and a 19-yard TD pass to Eddie Royal.
Running back Jeremy Langford had eight of the nine first-half rushes, Ka’Deem Carey one, and Carey would get none at all in the second half. Langford managed a paltry 2.8 yards per carry, not the kind of production that sustains a run game ultimately.
In the second half Langford upped his production to 3.9 yards per carry, with nine rushes. Carey, the other half of the “committee” that Fox has traditionally favored for his backfields’ approach, did not see the football.
Meanwhile, the Bears were calling 20 pass plays in the second half, four of those ending in sacks.
“I thought the first part of the game, the first half, we did what we needed to do,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Second half, I didn't think we got as many opportunities. I think that comes from not converting on third downs and lack of execution in the second half.”
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The Bears did convert just two of eight third downs in the second half.
But Loggains’ may have contributed to the mounting troubles in the second half with play-calling. The Bears gave the ball to Langford on seven consecutive first-down plays in the second half, which netted five, minus-1, 15, seven and four, six and minus-1.
While the commitment to the run might be found in that kind of play selection, the potential for predictability was obvious.
Fox, however, indicated that some of the problems lay, not with Loggains nor a newly formed offensive line, but perhaps with Langford not getting what was there for the getting. Langford himself acknowledged that he needed to do more with what the offensive line created for him.
“Well, I think we blocked up some runs pretty well,” Fox said. “That’s not an easy defense to run against, but I think there were some yards there, yards after the carry, I mean, yards after contact.
As far the non-committee approach, “I think the fact that we only ran it 20 times,” Fox said. “[The Texans’] per carry was 3.7, just like ours. The difference was they ran it 35 [times],we ran it 20, so the time of possession, that usually plays into that.”